Monday, 27 April 2015

A Question of Guilt

There are suspicious goings on around here, I just can't seem to put my finger on what, where or whom.

On Friday night I attended the frankly AMAZING new exhibition at Falmouth Art Gallery A Question of Guilt. It showcases the crime writer, Frances Flyfield's, wonderful collection of paintings (*I should clarify these are not by her but rather an assortment of others work that she has amassed over her lifetime). The entire exhibition is a murder mystery trail; each painting a character in the story and all with wonderfully witty captions. Although I didn't manage to work out the murderer or the weapon (there was a Cluedo board and an evidence box at the end of the exhibition) it did get my imagination whirring. The characters were fabulous: from the heavy lidded and be-hatted murderess to the flamboyant entertainer, each added to a very complex and funny story. 

The curation was masterful, carefully placed objects (and even a fireplace!) created an incredibly atmospheric space to walk around. I was very taken with a little mirror they had in the corner with a selection of tweed deerstalker's to try on. I tried one and it was, much to my delight, an exact match for the tweed I was wearing. 

Here are a couple of paintings from the exhibition:

Unknown Artist, Early 20th Century - A Question of Guilt, Falmouth Art Gallery
Untitled, Percy Frederick Horton- The Murderess, A Question of Guilt, Falmouth Art Gallery

I've always loved a detective story, my brother and I are avid Sherlock fans and for a while we toyed with the idea of starting our own agency. We spent hours on trains practising the Mind Palace technique featured in Sherlock however, despite having the trench coats, hats and spectacles we weren't all that fantastic at it!

That aside I decided to have another whirl at being a detective for the day. I donned my tweeds and the largest brimmed hat I could find and took to the roof. I didn't find much in the way of crime but I did find some very lovely greenery and a incredibly blue sky! Hurrah! 

Apart from detecting undetectable crimes I've been busy with a number of other projects. My home was recently featured on Om Pom Happy which you can see here. I also forgot to mention in my last post that my spare room is now up on airbnb, come and visit (or just have a nosey)!

The exhibition I spoke about in my last post is still up, you can visit it at The Glorious Art House in Exeter, open 7 days a week. It finishes on Friday so you better get your skates on!

Hope you all have a wonderful week and don't get entangled in any mysteries...

Outfit Details

 1980s tailored tweed waistcoat & jacket - Furness & Duke via Oxfam

1930s mint green cotton shirt with lace trim - Vintage sale

Tweed breeches - Pants charity shop

Wide-brimmed hat - Zara sale

Tasseled loafers - Russell & Bromley 

Selection of vintage badges on jacket - Car boot sales

Suffragette 'Votes for Women' badge on waistcoat - NPG shop


Monday, 20 April 2015

Everything I Have Ever Lost

Hello! I spent all of last week putting the finishing touches to my installation for our family exhibition that opened at The Glorious on Saturday. I spent a lot of time knitting a very small jumper and even longer labelling everything. Here are the pictures of Everything I Have Ever Lost. 

The theme and title for the exhibition is Horror Vacui. Originally a Latin phrase, meaning fear of the void, it is the act of filling of every possible surface. My mum, brother and I all explored our own fear of the void; producing completely different results. My own fear of the void was to do with loss of objects/places/people. You can see my statement above but for slightly easier viewing here it is in plain text:

I face my fear of the void by imaging everything that I have ever lost, reunited. My greatest hope is that on reaching the void familiar faces, clothes, homes and hats, will greet me; no longer will they be left on trains, owned by someone else or lying in the gutter but instead clustered together just waiting to be found. Loss is a feeling many have experienced. It can be extremely frustrating, sometimes life-changing and 
sometimes it can pass by with little consequence. Mostly though it is sad, one can often worry ‘what has become of that poor lost thing?’ 
I have spent many hours wondering this and here are the results; my lost things reimagined, 
all safe and sound and remembered as they were the last time that I saw them.
Most things are trivial and have left little impression on my life: loose change, hats or pot plants. However, other things have left greater voids: my Dad, homes, Arty the Scottish Deerhound. Remembering lost things offers a solace in the darkest moments; losing something no longer feels sad but instead a joy, in that I know it will join the other lost things and one day I too shall join them. All these things may be lost but they are not forgotten.

I re-created my lost things in a variety of mediums. Here's a list of all the lost things:

Moyne Park
Trennick Row
Stuart the Caravan
Owls House
Arty the Scottish Deerhound
My Granny
My Aunty Bar
Harriet, Henrietta and Henry the Goldfish
Loose change
Every photograph I took from 2008-2013
My Irish Accent
The Gremlin
Faux fur hat
Straw boater
Fisherman’s Jumper
My Marbles
My Dad
Capri the Cacti
Red lipstick x 2
Dizzy the Canary
Easter eggs
Gruffalo mug
Candy watch
Jade plant
The Chickens 
Blue glass vase
Pink floral mug
My passport
Green glass
Smelly donkey
Joni Mitchell record
Foliage plant
Edward the Rat
Flat Ted's red trousers
Claddagh ring
Lapis Lazuli ring
Blue ring
Pink horn rimmed glasses
Round glasses
My treasure box
Debs Bear's suitcase
Harry Potter book
Valley of the Dolls book
Floral mug
Marz badge
Mobile phone
Graphite pencil set
Pentel pen
Orange wine glass
Blue embroidered wedges

 There are certainly more things to be added to this list but it's a work in progress. I'd love to know about your lost things (good and bad). Making this work has prompted me to take stock of the things/people/places in my life now and appreciate everything that I haven't lost, I hope that it might do the same for the viewer. 

You can visit the exhibition, Horror Vacui, at The Glorious from 8-6 Monday-Saturday and 10-4 on Sundays. 

On another note I recently did two interviews. The first for The Glorious' blog about Horror Vacui which you can read here and another more general one about my practise for Om Pom Happy which you can read here. Look out for my home which will also make an appearance later in the week on Om Pom Happy.

You can also read a review of our exhibition here.


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Cookery in Colour

I'm not much of a telly watcher but recently I discovered Back in Time for Dinner on BBC iPlayer and have become rather enthralled by the idea of travelling back in time through food. The programme follows The Robshaw's back in time starting in 1950. Their home is transformed for each decade and they only prepare and eat meals in keeping with the time; most of the recipes coming from The National Food Survey.  Each episode gives a fascinating incite into the meals people were eating and the gadgets and recipe books they were using. The latest episode saw them hit the 1970s; their kitchen transformed into an orange and brown delight, complete with lots of vegetable crockery. 

Just prior to discovering this programme, I purchased Marguerite Patten's seminal cookery book 'Cookery in Colour' published in 1968. The recipes are lurid, saturated and extremely kitsch. 

Some of the recipes are little strange (banana surprise anyone?) but the colours and pictures are so fabulous I couldn't pass it up in the charity shop. It cost me 50p and has provided me with enough inspiration to last a lifetime! I've amassed quite a collection of vintage cookbooks and pamphlets over the years from car boot sales and chazzas but this is certainly my favourite ever. Marguerite was extremely popular in the 60s/70s, in fact on showing my mum this purchase she revealed that she learnt to cook from this very book! Thankfully her cooking has progressed a little since then. Of course there is Delia too and the hilarious Franny Craddock.

All these colours and celeb cooks of the 70s got me in the mood for blue eyeshadow and polyester. These photographs are my ode to Marguerite, Franny, Delia and Mary! I think cooks these days could definitely do with an injection of colour and a few silly expressions.

Delia Smith
Source: 1
Mary Berry
Source: 2
Franny Craddock
Source: 3
My outfit is a glorious 1970s polyester set comprising of a shirt and skirt, which were actually found on separate occasions. The skirt my mum found in a charity shop in Cornwall several years ago and is about 100 sizes to big so I took the waistband in and now it's the perfect fit. The shirt I stumbled on 2 years ago, just after handing in my BA thesis, on a vintage shop sale rail on the Holloway Road. As you can imagine I was terribly excited to find the skirts counterpart! I love reuniting vintage items.  The glasses are vintage frames that I had fitted with my prescription online from INEEDSPEX - good value and very quick! The colour of them always reminds me of Sue Kreitzman's. She's a style inspiration of mine and guess what? She has spent much of her life writing cookbooks (before her turn to art)!

Sue Kreitzman now and then!
Source: 4 & 5

To complete the 1970s cookery queen look one obviously needs a whole host of crockery masquerading as vegetables. Below is a little of my collection mostly picked up at car boot sales (so excited that they are starting again this week, hooray for Spring!) I began collecting vegetableware quite some time ago after seeing Kaffe Fasset's enviable collection. 

Kaffe Fassett's kitchen dresser, Glorious Interiors, pg 127
Kaffe Fasset's dining room, Glorious Interiors, pp 110-111

My collection has grown considerably and now takes up quite a lot of my kitchen, leaving not an awful lot of space for anything else! Also note the tray on the shelf in these photographs, purchased from a car boot sale, it cropped up in Back in Time for Dinner's 70s episode. I'm also the proud owner a pineapple ice bucket, an essential for any hostess.

Back in Time for Dinner - 1970s, BBC 2

I'm going to attempt a few recipes from Marguerite's book for a 1970s dinner party soon so I'll be sure to post pictures of the results though I'm not sure I'll be able to reach her heady heights of culinary expertise.

I'll leave you with a clip from Delia Smith's Cookery Course, in this episode she teaches you how cook and eat Spaghetti for your Spaghetti Bolognese!

 I hope you are all having a wonderful week, I'm still hoping for that Easter heatwave!

Outfit Details

1970s polyester skirt and shirt set - Charity shops (purchased separately)

Vintage red plastic glasses - INEEDSPEX

Blue suede platforms - Urban Outfitters sale

Plastic beaded earrings - Topshop

Blue eyeshadow - Barry M

Matte Turquoise Nail Varnish - Barry M